Pakistan firing kills Indian soldier in Kashmir

Pakistan firing kills Indian soldier in Kashmir

SRINAGAR, India - The Associated Press
Pakistan firing kills Indian soldier in Kashmir

AFP photo

Pakistani forces killed one Indian soldier in firing across their disputed frontier in the Himalayan region of Kashmir, the Indian military said today, while both sides accused the other of starting the skirmishes.

Indian military spokesman Col. R.K. Palta said Pakistani forces opened fire first with rockets and automatic weapons yesterday and continued into today in what India considered a violation of a cease-fire, and that Indian forces returned fire.

The Pakistani side continued firing even when Indian forces worked to evacuate an injured soldier who later died in a hospital, Palta said.

He said India contacted Pakistan via a hotline to try to de-escalate the situation at the frontier, about 180 kilometers southwest of Srinagar. "However, Pakistani troops continued firing on Indian posts," he said, adding that the situation remained tense.

A military official in Pakistan, speaking on condition of anonymity because the Pakistani army has strict rules on who it allows to be named in the media, said the Indian side launched "unprovoked firing." He did not respond to the report that an Indian soldier had been killed.

Kashmir is divided between Pakistan and India. Their armies have observed a cease-fire in the region since November 2003, but there have been isolated shooting incidents since then.

India and Pakistan have fought two of three wars over control of Kashmir - a territory claimed by both in its entirety - since their independence from Britain in 1947.